Although I have had my fair share of poring through resumes and deciding whether or not someone is worth hiring, it’s a totally different ball game when that person is going to be YOUR employee.
Last month, I began to realize that I needed writers to join my growing team, and in that search, I realized how hard it was to find quality people. Not only did I need writers who had strong mechanics, but those who understood the industry and needs of my clients. I considered writing a blog post and sharing it on social media but was afraid of the overwhelming influx of responses. Time is already limited as is, so more time spent reviewing applications and resumes would only increase the workload.
This is where networking comes into play and changes the game. Back in November, I met a girl on Instagram who I became friends with. I reached out and asked if she could provide some referrals and one of those names became my first writer. I’m extremely blessed and lucky to have someone who can perform with little instruction, so I wanted to share my method of hiring. Here are 4 steps to hiring your first quality employee.
Step 1: Start small
The first step is to start small. Although my needs might be 16 articles per month, I started at 4 so that I can learn my writer’s voice, quirks, and flow. This might be different depending on the business you’re in so you have to “start small” accordingly. Plus, you have to understand that he/she is new and that might require some training. If they’re able to get off the ground running, that’s cue to assign more; but if they’re struggling, that’s where your role as manager intervenes and assists.
Step 2: Watch from afar
From my experience, my favorite bosses were those who gave me freedom and creative control. Therefore, I try to do the same. When it comes to writing, I simply set the deadline which I’m extremely flexible about and let my writer do the rest. I then watch how things unravel… The key elements I’m paying attention to in my laissez faire approach are whether deadlines are being met, if the articles align with current trends, and word count. A sense of urgency and professionalism through timeliness are two things that are unrivaled in this industry. If I can check those two traits off, it’s a great sign! Also, pay attention to how your new employee acts when a job has been completed. For instance, in writing, I love when someone goes back to review my edits once an article goes live without me telling them. It means they care about how their work aligns with mine.
Step 3: Have conversations
Next, be sure to touch base regularly especially if you’re hiring someone who works remotely. Even though you have a sense of purpose, it doesn’t mean your employee understands your vision. Having conversations now and again will instill purpose into what they’re doing and why it matters. After one or a few of these conversations, you should see excitement and desire to learn and grow with you. That’s the sign of a driven, ambitious person (my favorite traits). My biggest pet peeve is a lack of eagerness to learn and/or do better. No one wants to bring someone on who merely wants exposure and then peaces out.
Step 4: Have a proper procedure in place and know the legalities of hiring
In times of growth, legal and tax advice are so important. I recently spoke to my accountant who gave me the lowdown on subcontracting versus hiring and a single-member LLC versus an S-Corp. I’m no expert on this topic but to save yourself the headache down the road, I highly encourage you have a procedure with the proper paperwork and contracts in place. I wish someone told me this earlier! Although you’ll have friends and industry insiders who can share their experience, it doesn’t mean that you can apply it to your situation. Invest in yourself and get the expert guidance you need.
Now, question to all my freelancers and entrepreneurs, do you have tips for hiring?